Every year at about this time, I find myself looking back over the preceding months – many of which were difficult or exhausting – smiling softly, thinking what a wonderful year. I recall moments that once angered or discouraged me and yet somehow, with Bing Crosby singing and colorful lights twinkling, I am softened.

holidays star

What is it about the holidays? Why do our hearts ache over someone we loved and lost but didn’t think twice about about all year? Why do our eyes well with tears at the sound of a song we’ve heard a thousand times before? And why does the plight of poverty that surrounds us every day suddenly render our nights sleepless? Does the “season of giving” actually make us kinder, gentler, more compassionate people? Or, to propose a more dire perspective, are we just responding for a moment to commercialized sentimentality and middle class guilt?

The season of giving isn’t a universal experience – less than half the world celebrates Christmas. But this time of year is teeming with messages shared in the human experience – some messages that bring hope and others that break our hearts. We share loneliness and uncertainty, the chill of winter and the pang of loss. We share a desire for hope and a longing to love and be loved. We are desperate to believe we have value; to believe we have a reason to be alive. And this is what we have to give each other – if only once a year, if only during a season where poverty is illuminated by greed, if only because of Bing Crosby and twinkling lights –  let us give each other the gift of being seen, being looked in the eye, being treated as someone who has value. And let kindness and compassion be our strong response to the systems and beliefs that would seek to take them away.

All of us at Realized Worth are grateful to you for your support, your friendship, and your partnership. We are grateful for what you’ve taught us, the opportunities you’ve given us, and the way you’ve worked with us to make the world a better place to live. We wish you the happiest of holidays – and we look forward to another year that will prove as wonderful as this one.

Angela Parker
Co-founder/Partner, Realized Worth
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